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Mediation FAQs - How Does Mediation Work?

Discover How Mediation Works

Here’s what you need to know about how mediation works and what to expect on the day…

How The Mediation Day Works…

How Does Mediation Work?

Mediation is where parties in dispute try to negotiate an agreeable settlement with the help of an impartial third person, who mediates between them. The mediator assists the parties through a discussion process with the objective of helping them find that settlement at the end.

What Kind of Disputes Can mediation solve?

Mediation can help in most disputes, but tends to be used in cases where litigation may happen or as part of the litigation process itself.

Disputes may arise in cases involving commercial transactions, personal injury, construction projects, workplace disagreements, community disputes, and in relationship breakdowns in divorce, separation and employment situations.

Can You Be Forced To Mediate?

Mediation is said to be “voluntary” in the UK. This means you can’t be forced to mediate your dispute. However, the courts will often ask parties to consider mediation because it has a good chance of ending a dispute saving time and money for all concerned and reducing the caseload burden on the court. Since the courts see mediation as a benefit to them and to parties in general there may be penalties imposed on parties that refuse to mediate if the court thinks that refusal is unreasonable.

Benefits To The mediation Process

For the parties in a dispute, mediation offers a number of benefits over litigation.

These include:

  1. Affordability because a mediated solution will save money;
  2. Timely Resolution because mediation can produce a settlement after one day;
  3. Private Sessions and Confidentiality because sitting in open court can be daunting and public disclosure embarrassing;
  4. Participation In The Resolution of the dispute because in court, the judge will adjudicate and hand down a verdict, leaving the parties themselves as spectators instead; and
  5. Preservation of Relationships because litigation can irreparably damage fragile and precious interrelationships between parties, which mediation can help to preserve and restore.

How Does the Mediation Process Work?

The mediation day will generally follow a pattern, often labelled “5 Stages of Mediation”. The goal of going through these 5 stages of mediation s to achieve a workable and agreeable settlement of the dispute. The stages are:

Stage One:  Convening The Mediation. Getting the parties to agree to mediate their problem. Parties will be told about the benefits of mediation: cheaper, faster, less stressful and that it’s a neutral and confidential process. This stage will also deal with administration details.

Stage Two: Mediation Day Introduction/ Opening Session. Every mediation begin with an “opening statement” and although styles vary, the content is always about creating the right atmosphere – one of optimism on outcomes and mutual respect – and setting expectations on how the day will progress as well as general 2housekeeping”. The parties in the dispute may elect to hear this opening statement together or may be more comfortable hearing it privately and separately.

Stage Three: Private Sessions – Initial Discussions. The mediator will see each side in private and hear their side of things. The mediator will listen the m talk about what ahs happened, what events have made them feel and what sort of outcome they hope to achieve. This phase allows each party to feel they have been “heard” and for the mediator to begin to help them gain a perspective on the issues they are facing in an understanding way that facilitates a productive mood and environment.

Stage Four: Generation of Options and Alternatives. This is the main “negotiation” phase. The mediator will help the parties to let go of some unhelpful positions and emotions and will very often play devil’s advocate with them to “reality test” assumptions and help them gain a more accurate picture of what is likely to happen in court and their own self-interests and prospects of success. As the begin to take stock from a more advanced over-view the parties are usually able to move closer to a deal that suits their mutual self-interests.

Stage Five: Clarification and Agreement. This is where the final trade-offs and fine tuning bring a resolution of the dispute in most mediations. In the majority of cases, the negotiation stage will result in a settlement that both parties are able to agree is a better alternative than continuing the fight in court. If such an agreement emerges then the legal representatives will usually write a memorandum that is then signed to make the agreement enforceable.

What If No Settlement Is Reached?

There are generally no legal penalties for failing to reach a settlement, and the parties may simply elect to continue to court.

In fact, of the mediations that don’t settle on the day, a majority will still come to an agreement shortly afterwards. For those where litigation continues to court, the mediation will still have provided valuable insight.

How Does Mediation Work – A Video Guide…

Find out a little bit more below and click on our video which explains how mediation works…

Top 10 Reasons To Mediate

Find out some of the many reasons why mediation is the best way to resolve your dispute… 

"There's so many good reasons to mediate..."

You can see there’s a world of good reasons to use mediation, so why not call us now?


Commercial Mediation

The long explanation below is general in nature and tends towards Commercial cases. specific info on Workplace and Family Mediation can be found under the appropriate tabs here…

Workplace Mediation

Specific info about what happens in Workplace mediation can be found HERE…

Family Mediation

Specific info about what happens in Family Mediation can be found HERE...